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January 19, 2018

Filipinos Should Welcome the Modern Jeepney

Recently, there has been much talk about the Jeepney Modernization Program and the push of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to launch 200,000 new PUVs over the next three years.

In October of last year, the Automotive Body Makers Association of the Philippines (ABMAP) together with the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) and Philippine Parts Makers Association (PPMA) showcased their vision of the modern PUV. The public and transport industry saw first hand how the modern jeepeney looked and the result was overwhelmingly positive.

However, many traditionalists criticized the design, arguing that there is a need to preserve the old iconic look of the Jeepney which has a long hood in front, low ceiling, small side doors at the front and one rear opening for the ingress and egress of passengers. What these traditionalists don’t realize is that iconic look is the result of evolution.

The Jeepney evolved from the auto calesas of the post-war era when military Jeeps used by American soldiers during World War II were repurposed to become people carriers. The rear body was lengthened, side-facing rear bench seats were installed, and the opening was provided at the rear for easy access. The design was dictated mainly by whatever vehicle platform was available at that time, and it just so happened to be the American Willys MB Jeep.

Later, it evolved, taking on vastly different forms. For example, in Luzon, the jeepney body became even longer because of the available surplus Japanese engines and platforms from Isuzu, Toyota, and Mitsubishi. It had a long hood in front, roll-down plastic curtains at the sides, a rounded roof which extends beyond the body at the sides, and egg-shaped fenders. This design, the “Sarao-type Jeepney” became the quintessential jeepney to many.

However, the design tended to veer away from this “norm” the further away one goes outside of Luzon. With the use of whatever engine and platform readily available being the only constant, some have resorted to using second-hand light trucks as basis for their jeepneys. In Iloilo, a city on Panay Island in the Western Visayas, jeepneys typically have a Japanese compact sedan face grafted on a truck body. While in Bacolod, the Capital City of Negros Occidental, they sport an AUV (Isuzu Crosswind, Mitsubishi Adventure, Toyota Tamaraw) face. The list goes on and on.

Therefore, to say that the Luzon design jeepney represents the Philippines would be disregarding what the current jeepneys really are outside of the country’s biggest island group. The Jeepney may indeed be a national icon, but no one region can lay claim to its design. It’s design largely depends on what imported (typically, used) platform is available as well as the cultural preference of the local area.

On the other hand, the modern PUV is different. It’s a function over form design set to standards made by the Bureau of Philippine Standards. It’s designed for better safety, comfort, convenience of passengers, and more revenue and less running costs for drivers and operators. It has side doors instead of the single rear door, no hood, and a higher ceiling height that allows for standing passengers. It even has emergency exits and a provision for PWDs (Person with Disabilities) in some configurations. It gets a Euro 4 compliant diesel engine, new parts and components bumper-to-bumper, and to top it all off, an automated fare collection system.

All told, it manages to cross the cultural divide and delivers what the current Filipino commuter, be him from Luzon, Visayas, or Mindanao needs.

On top of that, the ABMAP and TMA’s proposed new designs are manufacturing friendly because they use cab-chassis or chassis cowls of existing light-duty trucks available locally. This will enable the various PUV Modernization participants: Isuzu, Mitsubishi-Fuso, Foton, Tata, Hyundai, and Jinbei to produce the entire requirement of the program quickly and efficiency, generating jobs to more Filipinos.

They say that the jeepney is the icon of Filipino ingenuity and design. And the latest chapter of that is the Modern PUV. It’s time everyone would have an open mind and fresh perspective to usher in an era of safer, more convenient, economical, and environmentally-friendly PUVs.


  1. Those traditionalists should also be phased out from philippine society

  2. Indeed. They should wear igorot costume while waiting to be phased out.

    1. This is a racist comment.

    2. There is no Igorot "costume" that exists. You can call it an attire like an Americana or Barong Tagalog. It's not a halloween costume like ignorant people like you think it is.

  3. The classic jeepney, like the London cab and tuktuks, already has deep cultural significance and should be retained. However, I think that Euro-4 engines should be mandated for jeepneys as well as extensive driver education.

  4. Hopefully, the government can immediately support thier modernization project. Ive walk an hour going to my work as there are few jeepneys to none at all.

  5. Kulang na Kulang na talaga ang mga Jeepneys dito sa Cabanatuan. Hindi na Roadworthy ang mga Mini Bus ng Aliaga dahil Colorum pa sila. In Demand talaga ang mass transport dito sa Cabanatuan.

  6. Ang dyipni (at ang traysikel) ay simbulo ng mali sa atin.
    Makasarili - gusto sumakay at bumababa kahit saan
    Walang pag galang sa kapwa - di pag sunod sa mga batas
    Paawa - pasensya na mahirap lang, naapi kami
    Pde nayan mentality - magsiksikan tayo

    Bakit ba ang nagpapalakad sa transportasyon natin ay galing sa sektor ng lipunan na sariling kapakanan ang pangunahing motibo.? Ang tranportasyon ay napakahalaga sa lipunan (ilang milyon ang nawawala dahil sa trapik), ngunit ang mga bumubuo ng nagbibigay ng serbisyong ito ay wala sa posisyon para isipin ang kapakanan ng nakakarami dahil sa kalagayan nila sa buhay. Dapat ipamandato sa sektor ng transportasyon na ang mabilis at ligtas ng paggalaw ng mga tao ang pangunahing layunin

  7. Old Jeepneys with 15 years old and above must be phased out and replace with these new ones not only in Metro Manila but also in places like Pagadian, Cebu, Dipolog, Davao, Iloilo, Pampanga, Cagayan De Oro, Iligan, Ozamis, Oroquieta, Zamboanga, and

    Here's my opinion about

    - Torn body or in Filipino 'sira sira' or 'kinalawang'
    - Surplus engines that emits black smoke.
    - Rear portion that is unsafe.
    - No seatbelt between the driver and the passenger on the front seat.
    - No door on the front seat.

    - Fuel efficient
    - Environment-friendly
    - Safe to ride
    - Rigid bodies
    - With seatbelt between driver and passenger on the front seat.
    - With handbrake.
    - With door on the front seat.
    - With GPS that monitors the speed limit.

  8. at magkano naman daw. sana eco friendly solar sa roof at baterya ang gumagana para mawala yang nakakamatay na usok at polution.


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